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Review - QCY Qy7 Bluetooth Earphones

About 2 weeks ago I received my first pair of bluetooth earbuds. I searched the cheapest earbuds with some decent reviews and ultimately found a lot of QCY Qy7 headphones. I order the ones from AGPTek, an unknown company that apparently doesn't have a website.

The headphones are prices at just 25 euros! So I figured, how bad can they be? I ordered them and have used them for 3 weeks now and I am pleasantly surprised. Here's my review of them!

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Building a Mini Arcade Machine (Part 2)

About a month ago I started building a mini arcade machine. A lot has happened since my first post. In the last couple of weeks my girlfriend and I sanded and painted all the wood panels. This last weekend we put the panels together and wired all the buttons, LEDs and joysticks. We slowly watched our arcade machine come to life!

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Building a Mini Arcade Cabinet (Part 1)

I'm a geek. I like geeky stuff. For the past couple of months I was looking for a reason to buy myself a Raspberry Pi. I thought about integrating it in my room and in my car. I thought about creating an internet radio with it or just use it as a home server.

But when I came across the Internet Archive's Internet Arcade, I finally decided what my first Raspberry Pi project was going to be: building an arcade cabinet! My girlfriend and I started working on the arcade this weekend and we intent to continue to work on it during the weekends. In this post I walk you through everything we did during our first build weekend!

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Building a dynamic heart of profile pictures

A few months back I was contacted by a non-profit organisation for building an online donation system. They found me after reading a news article about the meta search engine that I developed. I happily accepted their request and met with the founder shortly afterwards. The idea was simple: set up a website where people can see what the organisation does and where they can donate. After donating a user should be "rewarded" with something.

We end up building a "beating" heart surrounded by profile pictures of donators. After each donation, a user is "rewarded" with the possibility to include his picture in the heart. In this post I'll walk you through the process of building the dynamic heart.

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Creating static social share buttons

Social networks are everywhere online. Share, like and tweet buttons are popping up on a lot of webpages these days. The social buttons however have a big impact on the performance of a website. They load a ton of resources and slow down websites.

In this post I'll tell you why I hate these social buttons so much. I'll also walk you through the process of building the static share buttons that I use on my website.

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Patching Shellshock vulnerability on Ubuntu Server 13.10

On September 24, 2014 a Bash vulnerability was discovered that could lead to arbitrary code execution. The bash shell is used in many operating systems, including Linux, BSD and Mac OS X.

After some testing I found out that my RamNode VPS (running Ubuntu Server 13.10) is vulnerable to the exploit. Sadly, this release of Ubuntu Server is unsupported and doesn't receive Bash updates!

Fortunately there is a way to manually update Bash and patch the vulnerability. In this post I'll show you how to check if your vulnerable and how to fix it.

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Backup DokuWiki to Amazon S3 with PHP

I have a small RamNode VPS that I use as a VPN server. I also host my personal wiki on there and use it to document interesting things that I would otherwise forget. The information in my wiki is pretty valuable to me. I therefore decided that I needed a way to automatically backup my wiki, just in case.

I'm a pretty big fan of Amazon S3 and what better place is there to backup your data? It's safe, secure and very cheap!

Sadly though, I couldn't find a working S3 backup script for DokuWiki that was written in PHP. The official DokuWiki websites lists Ruby and Python scripts but since I'm not familiar with those languages (and don't have them on my server) I decided to write one in PHP.

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Building a meta-search engine

At the end of 2012 I launched a search engine that combined the offerings of six different second hand websites in Belgium. It was called 'Zoekertjesland' and indexed well over 3 million items.

Last week however I unplugged the server and stopped the project. I'm a student and renting a VPS for 2 years without any income from the website is costly.

In this post I'll walk you through the technical aspects of building a meta-search engine like this one (with PHP, MariaDB and Sphinx).

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Running OpenVPN on a cheap RamNode VPS

When I'm on the road and connecting to free public WiFi access points, I always use OpenVPN to prevent my traffic from being intercepted by others. It's also very practical to circumvent the restrictive firewall at my school.

I've always used a veriety of free OpenVPN services but these are unreliable, throttle transfer speeds and usually have other restrictions. To fix this, I ordered a cheap OpenVZ based VPS from RamNode to run my own OpenVPN server. In this post I'll walk you through the steps I performed to install and configure OpenVPN on Ubuntu Server 13.10

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Enable gzip for Jekyll blogs on Amazon S3

A little over a year ago I moved away from Wordpress and started using Jekyll for this blog. I also started using Amazon S3 as a cheap but very reliable hosting provider.

The past weeks I've looked into ways to speed up my blog even further without using a CDN. One technique that is used very frequently is enabling gzip compression. In this post I'll walk you through the steps I took to serve gzipped content from Amazon S3.

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